Arnold v. Sarn

Class action lawsuit on behalf of 23,000 people with serious mental illness in Maricopa County, Arizona, many of whom are homeless or living in unregulated congregate board and care homes.  After the Arizona Supreme Court held that a state statute requires the provision of community mental services to all persons with serious mental illness, the parties agreed to detailed remedial plan that created a blueprint for developing a comprehensive community mental health system.  When the State failed to implement the plan, there were numerous noncompliance findings and further orders for systemic relief, including joining the Governor as a defendant.  A final settlement agreement, approved by the Court in 2014, requires the State to further expand mental health services so that individuals with serious mental illness can live independent and productive lives in the community.  Under the final settlement, the State must create up to 1500 additional supported housing units, 1250 supported employment placements, 13 ACT teams, and 1500 peer support services.  Agencies providing these services must comply with SAMSHA fidelity standards for each program model.  The State also must conduct annual independent reviews of a sample of class members to determine if their support needs are being met, as well as separate independent reviews of the capacity of the service system to meet the overall needs of persons with serious mental illness in the county.   CPR’s co-counsel were the Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest and the Arizona Center for Disability Law.